The Recent Creation: Creation is God-determined, not self-determined

by Kyle
published January 16, 2016


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Having taught the Bible for a number of years now, I have come to an unfortunate conclusion: students will forget at least 95 percent of what a teacher says. Whenever I get frustrated with my own students, I find myself trying to remember lectures from college or high school and my own failure to do so helps me find patience.

That last 5 percent of what a teacher says, though, is gold. There are a handful of lessons, lectures and sermons from various teachers and pastors over the years that I still quote. One of those was from Mr. Furgeson, my U.S. History teacher in high school.

It was early in the year, and he offered a way for us to think about history. In every conflict, each party has a position. This is the thing a party says they want, and it usually conflicts with what the other parties involved say they want. A classic example from MIT imagines that two chefs want the last available orange in the kitchen. The position of both chefs is, "I want the orange." The conflict is obvious: two chefs want an orange, and there is only one orange.

However, each party has at least one underlying interest. This is the true goal each party hopes will be satisfied by their position. In the chef example, one chef's recipe calls for the juice from one orange while the other chef's recipe calls for the grated rind from one orange. At this point, understanding the interest, the solution is obvious: give the juice from the orange to chef A and give the rind to chef B.

This positions-interests paradigm is as vital to resolving present-day conflicts as it is to understanding historical conflicts, even if interests are sometimes incompatible. It also plays out in the clash of worldviews between Theistic Creationism and modern scientific theories of origins.

There is no easy way to put this: I am a Young-Earth, Theistic Creationist. (I even drive a pickup and own more than one gun!) You may now be thinking one of two things. Either you're cheering that someone in the media is championing your own position, or you've just made an unflattering evaluation of my intelligence.

I haven't always believed this way, though. This position is not the product of pervasive trends in child-rearing. It is the result of careful and measured consideration. Over the next several weeks, I would like to build a case for why it is most reasonable to believe that the universe is relatively young. I'd like to begin, though, by applying this position-interest paradigm to the conflict between worldviews.


I believe the key to the difference between a biblical, young universe view and a more commonly accepted old universe view is in the interest underlying the position. Neil deGrasse Tyson is a brilliant astrophysicist in his own right and an even more brilliant science communicator. In an interview with the titled "A Conversation about Communicating Science," Tyson claimed, "God is an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance that's getting smaller and smaller and smaller as time goes on." While he doesn't mind people believing in God, he seems to think that theism necessarily kills curiosity and that theistic thinking is "useless on the frontier of understanding the nature of the world." At its most benign, the conventional scientific thinking of our origins views God as a barrier for understanding the universe instead of the reason for and vehicle by which we understand the universe. Modern scientific thought for at least the past century and a half has worked under the assumption that there is no God, and its agenda has been to consistently propose theories that explain all of existence without relying on God.

To be fair, though, I have an agenda, too. While one view seeks to make God irrelevant by proving life to be possible without God, I strive to proclaim that life is impossible without God. The way I read books and articles about science is tempered by what I read in Scripture. God alone was present at creation, and he is therefore uniquely qualified to describe how it happened. That doesn't mean that I'm not curious about how it happened, though.

These two agendas, however, bear out logical consequences. Tyson himself has conceded — even proudly proclaimed — that everyone and everything we know is just star dust. If that is so, then I have no absolute moral obligation to treat him respectfully. I don't any moral obligations at all. I am free to live my life — whatever it is — however I please. If God is not necessary to my origins, then he is certainly not necessary to my daily life. The interest behind the position seems to be freedom from moral compunction. Put more positively, it is freedom from control. It is an interest that looks for human flourishing in the quarters of self-determination. At least that was my interest when I held the very same position.

And having looked for my own flourishing in self-determination, I found nothing but misery and mental illness. My interest is also human flourishing, but in my own experience and evidentiary search for truth, I have found it in God's determination of who I am and what my life should be.

I invite you to first see that there are similar and yet incompatible interests in both worldviews. Neither side seeks the malicious enslavement of humanity. Both care about what's best. That needs to be the beginning of any conversation regarding Creationism and its competing cosmologies. We all deserve the benefit of the doubt as well as respect for expression and competing views.

I also invite you to note how well self-determination works in your own life and in the rest of the world. Or rather, how well it doesn't work.

What do you think?

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